News report | | 07/09/2023 | ±3 minutes reading time

Sri Lanka is a small country with a relatively small labour market. Despite this, a lot of travellers find their way to the island with the intention to stay for a longer period of time. For a short stay, an ETA will suffice. However, if you wish to stay longer or even work in Sri Lanka, you will need to apply for a work visa, better known as the residence visa.

The Sri Lanka residence visa

The residence visa allows you to work in Sri Lanka for a longer period of time. The visa permits studying, doing paid work, or doing volunteer work in Sri Lanka, for example. There are numerous variants of this visa, apart from the residence visa, like a special variant for investors who invest a certain sum of money into the Sri Lankan economy. Furthermore, there is a specific visa for students, and even for the retired who want to settle in Sri Lanka. You must therefore make sure to apply for the correct visa.

The application procedure for the work visa

There are a few steps to take to apply for the residence visa to be able to work in Sri Lanka. For instance, you will need to apply for a special travel permit with the Sri Lankan authorities, before you travel to Sri Lanka. To do so, you will need a work contract or other written proof from your future employer in Sri Lanka. Keep in mind that the ETA for tourism and business trips is not a suitable travel permit in this case, since an ETA cannot be converted into a residence visa.

After arriving in Sri Lanka, you must schedule a health screening with the Sri Lankan ministry of public health within seven days. The examination checks for the following diseases: malaria, TB, HIV, or filariasis. After these exams, you will receive a health insurance policy with the validity of one year and you will be able to apply for your residence visa. The application requires the following documents:

  • A completed application form;
  • A letter of invitation from the employer;
  • Employer’s registration documents;
  • Letters of recommendation from Sri Lankan organisations;
  • A passport copy;
  • The results of the health examination conducted by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health.

Once approved, your residence visa has a maximum validity of one year, which can be extended annually by another year. If you wish to extend the validity of the visa, you must do so at least two months before the date of expiry of the visa. Application for extension must be submitted through the Immigration Department.

Residence visa or Sri Lanka ETA

Those who travel to Sri Lanka solely for touristic or business purposes can generally use the Sri Lanka ETA. The ETA has a maximum validity of 30 days. If you wish to stay in Sri Lanka longer than that, you can extend the validity of the ETA up to three times. At first, you can extend the validity up to 90 days, then to 180 and eventually even up to 270 days. This means that the ETA is also suited for longer stays in Sri Lanka, but not to work in the country.

You can easily apply for the ETA through this website. For this you will need your passport. After filling in your contact information, some details about your planned trip, your passport details, and after fulfilling the payment obligation, your application will be revised. If everything is in order, your application will be forwarded to the Sri Lankan immigration services. The average processing time for the ETA is only 4 days. Once your ETA is approved, you can immediately travel to Sri Lanka. is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the Sri Lanka visa. acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (52.08 USD per visa, via However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via, our support centre is available to you 24/7. We also check your application before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 52.08 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £38.80 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous Sri Lanka visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.